Sunday, March 6, 2016

Jennifer Scanlon's "Until There Is Justice"

Jennifer Scanlon is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of the Humanities in Gender and Women's Studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author of Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown.

Here Scanlon dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, Until There Is Justice: The Life of Anna Arnold Hedgeman:
In the biopic, I envision Melissa Harris-Perry playing Anna Arnold Hedgeman. An enormously accomplished academic, public intellectual, television host, and scholar-activist, Harris-Perry has yet to take on a film role. I believe that given her enormous versatility and brilliance, that’s the next step! Her deep understanding of the ways in which black women refuse and refute stereotypes, and craft full and complicated lives, makes her the perfect person to portray someone like Hedgeman, who has historical import but who also has much to tell all Americans today.

Then, with the runaway success of Hamilton, which tells an American story in new, far more inclusive ways, I see Until There is Justice making its way to Broadway, with Audra Williams in the lead role. Williams won a record-breaking sixth Tony award for her portrayal of Billie Holiday on Broadway, and she readily acknowledges that she stands on the shoulders of the African American women who came before her (she cites Lena Horne, Maya Angelou, Diahann Carroll Ruby Dee, and Billie Holiday). I believe she will see Anna Arnold Hedgeman in that same light, as a black woman who defied stereotypes, defined herself on her own terms, and paved the way for others.
Learn more about Until There Is Justice at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Until There Is Justice.

--Marshal Zeringue